Twice a year HUDS conducts a satisfaction survey in residential dining that provides us with a baseline gauge of student satisfaction, as well as some additional data to inform a current project or program decision. We concluded the fall 2008 survey in early December (freshmen took it about a week after upperclassmen, to avoid conflict with a survey from the College).
Our baseline questions ask you to rate the importance – Very important, Somewhat Important or Not So Important – to you of certain areas and then later to rate your satisfaction with those same areas.
The majority identified the following to be “Very Important”
• Taste of Food (96%)
• Freshness of Food (86%)
• Cleanliness of Plates & Utensils (81%)
• Cleanliness of Facilities (76%)
• Availability of Food (72%)
• Menu Variety (64%)
• Health/Nutrition Concerns around Food (59%)
• Temperature of Food (51%)
This is no surprise. These are the core competencies of a satisfying and safe dining program. What I then look at is the gap between the importance of these areas, and the satisfaction rating.
Three areas jump out that we will begin to intensively focus our efforts upon:
1. Health Concerns around Food
2. Menu Variety
3. Taste of Food
As a result, we will do two things:
1. Begin to work with University Health Services (UHS) and other College partners on providing further nutrition education
2. Begin a menu review, which may include asking for further feedback in the form of surveys, focus groups, or menu item suggestions, with the end goal of a refreshed menu by late spring, and a new menu in the fall 2009.
Additionally we asked a number of questions about your awareness of and interest in the sustainability of your food. Many of these questions were developed by an Environmental Science and Public Policy class, with whom we were working on a case study. They also help us understand how best to integrate these concepts into your program.
Very clearly you, as a community, have a broad spectrum of feelings about sustainability, with as many being very interested in it as are uninterested. Many of you also have “message fatigue” and are tired of hearing about it, but still expect us to do the right thing – and we will, but not with any compromise to the taste, quality and freshness you should expect first and foremost.
One other key finding: 61% of you rely on HUDS’ website for information. What’s more, you want it to be simpler to access. Thus, we will begin work on making our site more informative with fewer clicks. Suggestions for things you’d like to see on our website are most welcome.
We have a Facebook group that I invite you to join, but we will use this mostly as a forum for event notices or connecting like-minded food interests.
Moreover, as always, I welcome and encourage your engagement with me here.
With best wishes for a safe and happy holiday and break,